pa·​nache | \ pə-ˈnash How to pronounce panache (audio) , -ˈnäsh How to pronounce panache (audio) \

Definition of panache

1 : an ornamental tuft (as of feathers) especially on a helmet The palace guard had a panache on his helmet.
2 : dash or flamboyance in style and action : verve flashed his … smile and waved with the panache of a big-city mayor— Joe Morgenstern

Illustration of panache

Illustration of panache

panache 1

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Few can match the panache of French poet and soldier Cyrano de Bergerac. In his dying moments, he declared that the one thing left to him was his panache, and that assertion at once demonstrates the meaning of the word and draws upon its history. Panache derives via Middle French from Late Latin pinnaculum, meaning "small wing" or "gable," a root that also gave English the word pinnacle. In both French and English, panache originally referred to a showy, feathery plume on a hat or helmet; its "dashing" figurative sense developed from the verve and swagger of one bold enough to wear such an adornment in public. When the dying Cyrano turned his huge nose heavenward and spoke of his panache, his nose became the literal and figurative pinnacle of a multifaceted pun.

Examples of panache in a Sentence

She played the role of hostess with great panache.
Recent Examples on the Web Still, a Goodspeed concert has its own particular panache. Christopher Arnott,, 15 June 2021 For all their globe-trotting and polyglot panache, the financiers were no less insular than Tajik matrons. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, 8 June 2021 The leather shoe has panache but is much more comfortable than your traditional golf shoe, with a textured sole instead of removable spikes. Larry Olmsted, Forbes, 2 June 2021 Architects should by now have learned from Las Vegas to do fakery with panache. Justin Davidson, Curbed, 16 June 2021 The comparison seems a stretch, at first sight: The nondescript strip, rimmed by higgledy-piggledy façades, doesn’t exactly ooze panache. Mark Ellwood, Robb Report, 11 Apr. 2021 First, there is Deborah Vance, the caftan-wearing, QVC-pitching Las Vegas comedian who Smart plays with ruthless panache. San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 June 2021 The latter is a simple detail that gives the jogger a bit more panache and polish when compared to their elastic-at-the-bottom sweatpant counterparts. Rachel Besser, Vogue, 3 May 2021 It’s paired with a generous modding system that meaningfully boosts your abilities, enhancing your playstyle in power and sometimes even visual panache. Washington Post, 6 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'panache.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of panache

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for panache

Middle French pennache, from Old Italian pennacchio, from Late Latin pinnaculum small wing — more at pinnacle

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The first known use of panache was in 1553

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Last Updated

10 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Panache.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Jul. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of panache

: lots of energy and style


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